Is Edamame a Vegetable or a Legume? (Detailed Explanation)

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Generally, any leafy part of a plant is considered a vegetable. However, there are many cases where even fruits are considered vegetables, like tomatoes.

On the other hand, legumes are plant seedlings, and many people can consume them primarily raw as green peas and beans. But once the bean is matured, you must have them cooked or processed before consumption.

Edamame is a great staple in the kitchen that Asians classify as a vegetable, while others would refer to it as soybeans. For many people, edamame is a vegetable soybean. But is edamame a vegetable or legume?

We will answer this question and other related questions in this article!

What Is Edamame?

Popularly known as Mao Dou in China, edamame is a great staple consumed in east Asia. Countries like Korea, China, and Japan have edamame traditionally prepared in their cuisines.

Edamame is also known for its outstanding medical value and high nutritional profile. No wonder many people refer to it as a vegetable soybean. Now, for a soybean lover and vegetable lover, you might wonder which classification edamame belongs to. Is it a vegetable or a legume?

It is easy to refer to edamame as a vegetable because it is harvested when it is yet to mature. But there is more to it than this.

Did you know that edamame is a Japanese phrase for green vegetable soybeans? So, simply put, edamame is an immature soybean because they are harvested before they ripen.

So does this mean that edamame is a legume?

See Also: Is Lettuce a Vegetable?

Is Edamame a Vegetable or a Legume?

In Asian countries, edamame is a vital vegetable that many farmers harvest with fresh green pods, and this is usually before the beans mature.

The bean is referred to as vegetable soybean, as it is suitable for human consumption compared to grain soybean. This is because it is hard to consume ripe soybeans, and you must often cook, simmer, or let the beans ferment before consumption.

But since edamame is a bean, this sure makes it a legume. Edamame’s nutritional profile varies from other legumes, yet it is an excellent source of plant-based protein. It also has a higher fat content and low fiber content.

And this makes edamame a go-to meal for vegetarians since it contains all the protein requirements needed to maintain a diet.

Edamame has become a versatile product as it has gained popularity in the United States as a snack; it also makes up some main dishes or vegetables.

So if edamame is a legume, why do many people, especially in Asian countries, refer to it as vegetable soybean?

Why is Edamame Referred to as Vegetable Soybean?

Edamame is referred to as vegetable soybeans because it is harvested before it is fully mature, and unlike other soybeans, it is edible and can be eaten raw.

They refer to it as vegetable soybean because it tastes better than grain soybean or matured soybean.

What are the Differences Between Edamame and Soybean?

Soybeans are equally referred to as vegetables. They have been part of the Asian diet for over a thousand years. Soybeans like edamame are members of the pea family and have played a vital role in Asian cuisines.

First off, while edamame is always eaten as a fresh vegetable, soybeans are only helpful when they are mature enough for consumption.

Although edamame and soybean are from the same family, they have different nutritional benefits too.

Unlike edamame, Soybeans make other soy products like soy flour, soy sauce, tofu, soy milk, and even soil burgers.

Edamame tastes better compared to soybeans.

Benefits Of Edamame

  • Edamame helps to curb age-related brain disease.
  • This soy product, because it is not sweet, helps maintain or curtail the sugar level or content for those with diabetes.
  • It helps to encourage fertility and boosts energy levels.
  • Since edamame is an excellent protein, fiber, and mineral source, it is a beautiful dietary meal for vegans.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it healthy to eat edamame beans every day?

Edamame has been proven to have many health benefits, but this does not mean that you can eat edamame daily.

It is not healthy wise to consume a particular meal every day. So do not eat edamame beans every day.

What can you prepare with edamame?

You can prepare many recipes with edamame if you want to avoid maintaining a particular recipe.

You can make crispy parmesan garlic edamame; you can also make some spicy tofu edamame beans.

You can check out the myriad recipes you can try with edamame.

Can you eat edamame if you are soy allergic?

If soy is allergic, you have no reason to include edamame in your menu. Edamame is equally from the same family as soybeans.

Avoid eating edamame if soy is allergic; otherwise, you have no reason to worry.


Is edamame a vegetable or a legume? Our guide revealed that edamame is a legume, although many people refer to it as a vegetable.

Edamame is a necessary food ingredient if you don’t have a soy allergy. It’s proven that not only does it taste better compared to other soybeans, but it is also oozing with enough nutritional and health benefits.

So, you can now add edamame to your routine to reap all the benefits.

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